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Behind the screaming, a set of four good songs - 77%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, July 17th, 2017

If you love your black metal raw, crazed and cacophonous, you can't go past this tape by French noir-metallers Asthénie. Three tracks are live performances and the fourth track "Le culte de la charogne" (which is actually first up) is a rehearsal. What they were rehearsing "Le culte ..." for, who can tell - it's a thundering wild performance of screaming, howling vocals, crashing and bashing percussion and guitars barely holding everything together. While vocalist Sonnodumnos screeches his lungs inside out and back again, and repeats the performance ad nauseam, drummer Vannsinne whacks his kit flatter than pancakes - if the drums had been thrown off the top of a building, no way would they end up as damaged as what Vannsinne is doing here - and the other musicians soldier on stoically. These are four minutes of your life that'll leave you wondering what hit you and left you lying in the dust.

The live tracks actually seem a bit tamer but that's because being live they're expected to be raw and screechy, the band being at liberty to do as they please so my expectations were high for this aspect of the music. The guys sure sound like they're enjoying themselves at their audience's discomforting expense. For all the raucous screaming that goes on, "Gloire et dignité" is a good rocking song with a distinct bass-driven riff and a lively percussion back-up. Likewise the title track is a strong surging track giving the drummer plenty of soloing action and there are some meaty riffs as well. The musicians certainly know how to write and play songs with quite catchy tunes and riffs, no matter how hard they seem to want to wreck everything.

If you can get past the raucous screeching, you'll find some very rocking and even epic sweeping music here. You wonder why after this recording the band didn't release any more material - there are really good songs here.